LEARNED SILK, FEMI FALANA, SAN COMMENTS ON HOW LORD DENNING HANDLED CONTEMPT IN THE FACE OF COURT

PEGASUS LEGAL

That counsel are worshippers in the temple of justice, and none should do any act capable of descreating or bringing the court to disrepute. This value is as old as the profession.

But this week, Tuesday brought a news apposite to the above value when social media outlets were awashed with the news of a certain lawyer, Mr. Barth Eze who allegedly interjected court proceeding; while his Worship is delivering ruling.

It was said that this conduct got the Magistrate so inflammed with anger that he ordered the immediate arrest of the counsel in question ; and summarily sentenced him to two months imprisonment without being heard, the source alleged.

But the Unity Bar in a press conference condemned any action capable of descreating the court but lampooned the hasty manner that the Magistrate summarily convicted the counsel without giving him the opportunity of being heard, despite several lawyers indicating interest to handle the matter.

The Unity Bar vowed to use all resources in her disposal in challenging the alleged conviction. Not long after, the news filter in that the conviction has been quashed by a superior Court.

Sequel to the above, the Learned Silk, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, revealed how the erudite Master of the Rolls, Lord Dennings handled contempt in facie curiae.

See his views below:

Here’s what Femi Falana, SAN, said on this issue:

“In a case of contempt in facie curiae the judex is the complaint, the prosecutor and the judge. No doubt, it is trite that the disruption of the proceedings of a court is classified as contempt in facie curiae. But the Magistrate could have sent the lawyer out of the court room. That was what Lord Denning and his learned brethren did in the story published by the New York Times of June 16, 1964. According to the newspaper:

“Tempers may have been slightly ruffled, but decorum prevailed nonetheless in the Court of Appeal today as a protesting woman litigant flung law books at the judges. Vera Beth Stone was conducting her own case. She was refused leave to appeal a judgment on the levying of costs in an unsuccessful action she had brought against the Association of Official Shorthand Writers in which she had charged falsification of transcripts. So she picked up a book in front of her and said:

“This is not a personal matter, but I have to bring this before the court.”

The book flew past the ear of Lord Denning, Master of the Rolls, and struck the paneling behind him. Neither he nor either of the two other judges on the dais, Lord Justices Harman and Diplock, showed agitation.
“It does not have to be tomatoes,” Miss Stone continued, and let fly a second book, a bit wider of the mark.

“Will you please leave the court!” Lord Denning said politely but firmly.

“I shall only come back and throw more books,” Miss Stone replied.

“Will you leave?” Lord Denning persisted.
Miss Stone surveyed her dwindling library.
“I am running out of ammunition,” she said.

As she was led from the courtroom, she said to Lord Denning: “May I congratulate your lordship upon your coolness under fire.”

Femi Falana, SAN.

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